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Google to invest Rs 1,500 crore in new Hyderabad campus; focus on three key projects

The Economic Times:  May, 2015

Kolkata: Google, owner of the world's largest search engine, is investing Rs 1,500 crore in a new campus in Hyderabad, reckoned to be its biggest outside the US. The search giant plans to "focus on three key projects from its upcoming Hyderabad campus, including its super-fast Google Fibre broadband services, Street View and Google Education", Telengana's IT secretary Jayesh Ranjan told ET.

"Google Inc will shortly depute internal teams for driving all three activities from Telangana where it plans to build a new campus that will house some 13,000 staff," said Ranjan, adding that Google planned to "invest Rs 1,500 crore in the campus rollout over the next four years for its growing local team".

Ranjan was a key member of a top-level Telangana government delegation that recently visited Google Inc's Mountain View, California, operations on May 11 and interacted with several global product teams. The delegation was led by Telangana's IT minister KT Rama Rao, and included Sujai Karampuri, director (electronics) and Amarnath Reddy Atmakuri, Chief Relations Officer.

A Google spokesman confirmed these discussions, saying the "company is delighted to be collaborating with the government of Telangana on growing its presence there, while also exploring ways to contribute to their efforts to become a model digital state".

Google, however, declined to reveal its Hyderabad campus rollout investment details or its upcoming activities there. "On the campus side, it is still very early days, so we don't have all the details, but will share more as our plans come together," the company spokesman said in an emailed response to ET's queries.

But contrary to the Telangana government's claims, Google said, "it has no immediate plans to expand Google Fibre to India as it is still busy growing its presence in a number of US cities".

Telangana's IT secretary Ranjan, however, maintained that Google would "shortly send an internal team to examine the pros and cons of rolling out its high-speed fibre broadband services in both urban and rural homes across the state".

Another person aware of the discussions between the company and the Telangana government said Google's internal team would examine the existing fibre topography of key cities and towns in Telangana and also explore infrastructure-sharing options since leveraging existing infrastructure would cut greenfield fibre broadband deployment costs for delivering affordable fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services.

If implemented, Google's Fibre project could transform the home broadband scene in Telangana. Till recently, Google's ultra-fast fibre-based internet service was only available in Kansas City, but it is now being tested for rollout in other US cities such as Austin, Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Provo, Raleigh-Durham, and Salt Lake City, along with 34 other cities.

On bringing 'Street View' to India, the Google spokesman said the company "hoped to continue adding places to Street View in Google Maps for people to explore and enjoy as we look forward to building the most accurate, useful and comprehensive map of the world".

Over a year ago, analysts at Forrester Research had told this newspaper that Street View is an add-on service for Google Maps, which helps the search giant to differentiate in the maps marketplace and also in brand building. They had also said Google's Street View enables the company to get a bigger share of a user's time, which in turn, presents more online advertising opportunities for Google.

Google declined to comment on its plans to ring in its education initiative in Telangana. But according to the company's website, the search giant has developed a host of "easy tools, apps and solutions built for teachers and students on any device," regardless of school size or budget.